The Alma Children’s Education Foundation is beginning a new school expansion project in the province of Paruro. The community, San Francisco de Colcha, is home to the only secondary school in the entire District of Colcha. Alma will hire one teacher to help the school expand up to fourth grade.
The Apu Yauri Waynajuna Kallpachaq School was created and is still operated under community management, in which the community plays a leading role in all administrative activities, project planning, and project implementation. In addition, the school is one of about fifty schools in Peru that function within a system of alternating student groups, known as a Centro Rural de Formación en Alternancia (CRFA).
CRFA schools overcome the large distances students must travel from their respective communities to study at the secondary level by working in shifts. For fifteen days, two grades will live at the school and attend daily classes while the other two grades are in their home communities working on individual micro-enterprise projects. The benefit of the alternating system as opposed to traditional secondary schools or boarding schools is that students are provided the opportunity to study at the secondary level without having to decide between traveling long distances daily or leaving their families and communities for extended periods of time. The alternating system allows them to study inside the classroom for fifteen days and then return to their families for fifteen days of project work in their communities.
The projects are created by each student and developed over the five years of secondary school. Upon graduating, the students are not only secondary school graduates but also receive a technical certificate from the Ministry of Education in their project field. Therefore, the graduate has the option of running their micro-business as a certified technician in their own community, helping in the economic development of the community and reducing the need to emigrate to Cusco where the cost of living is higher and steady employment is scarce.
Due to the CFRA system, teachers in the Apu Yauri Waynajuna Kallpachaq School must be more in touch with their students and their students’ families than traditional secondary school teachers. The teacher hired by the Alma Foundation will be responsible for visiting students in their homes during their fifteen days of project work in their respective communities. The home visits serve to monitor and help the students with their project progress and to train parents to help their children and be involved in their academic performance.